Red Foods: The New Health Powerhouses?

Many red fruits and veggies are loaded with powerful, healthy antioxidants — such as lycopene and anthocyanins — that may do everything from fight heart disease and prostate cancer to decrease the risk for stroke and macular degeneration (the leading cause of blindness in people aged 60 and older).

Fruits and vegetables are a great way to get many healthy nutrients into our diet. We should all strive to fill our plates with a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. Here, I’m focusing on the benefits of produce with a red hue.

Red foods consist of everything from fruits, including watermelon, strawberries, cherries, raspberries, apples; and vegetables like tomatoes, red peppers, red onions, and red cabbage. These colorful and tasty foods are gifts from nature. They offer many health benefits because they have some of the following nutrients; lycopene, ellagic acid, quercetin, hesperidin, fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C.

Some of those benefits include:

Reducing the risk of prostate cancer.
Protecting the body from prostate, cervical and lung cancer.
Reducing tumor growth.
Protecting the body from harmful free radicals.
Protecting the body against heart disease.
Lowering blood pressure.
Lowering LDL cholesterol, which is the bad cholesterol in the body.
Supporting joint tissue for those with arthritis.
Keeping one regular by aiding in gastrointestinal health

Many red fruits and veggies are loaded with powerful, healthy antioxidants — such as lycopene and anthocyanins — that may do everything from fight heart disease and prostate cancer to decrease the risk for stroke and macular degeneration (the leading cause of blindness in people aged 60 and older). Antioxidants soak up damaging free radicals.

Read on for the skinny on some of the most popular red foods, along with ways to include more in your diet:

Red Food: Strawberries
In season: May and June, but available year-round

Benefits: “They are a good source of folate, which helps heart health and is helpful for women in their childbearing years,” Sandon says. Folic acid is known to decrease the risk of certain birth defects called neural tube defects. “Strawberries are also a good source of the antioxidant powerhouse vitamin C,” which boosts immune system function among other things, she says. Get more by: Sprinkling some strawberries on your cereal or blending up some frozen strawberries in a skim milk and frozen yogurt smoothie.

Most people know is it is important to consume 5-10 servings of fruits and vegetables but due to hectic lifestyles and busy schedules, we often forget. Type 11 diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, obesity, and cancer is on the rise due to a diet of refined grains, refined sugar, fat, and processed foods. Fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients that protect our bodies from these diseases and more. Red fruits and vegetables in particular contain nutrients that maintain healthy blood pressure, discourage growth of tumours, reduce bad cholesterol, reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men, and help prevent arthritis.

These are some nutrients commonly found in red fruits and vegetables:

Vitamin C

A diet high in Vitamin C is known to delay the aging process as well as reduce the risks of cancer, heart disease, and arthritis. Red pepper, guava, strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes and papaya are red foods that excellent sources of Vitamin C. Click here to read 15+ Vitamin C-Rich Fruits and Vegetables.

Lycopene

Lycopene is the carotenoid that gives red fruits and vegetables their characteristic bright red colour. This powerful antioxidant is believed to reduce the risks of certain types of cancer, lower the risk of heart disease, as well as reduce and lower the risk of macular degeneration (age-related eye disorder). The top three foods that contain the most lycopene are guava, watermelon, and tomatoes, respectively. Click here to read The Top Ten Foods Highest in Lycopene.

Quercetin

Quercetin, a flavonoid found in many brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, helps maintain healthy blood pressure, lowers the risks of certain types of cancers such as colon cancer, and helps ease allergy and asthma symptoms by preventing the release of histamine by the body’s immune cells. Raw onion, cranberries, cherries, apples, and red peppers are good sources of quercetin.

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